Saturday, May 14, 2022

Reproduction Rights and Roe

 Discussions involving human reproductive rights generate intense controversy. Our national populace has always been concerned about human rights. As humans what rights do we have? Our rights are deemed sacred because humans are created in God’s image. As Creator, God bestows rights on his created entities.

In 1948 the United Nations produced the important UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Only one of its 30 articles might be construed to relate to the issue of abortion rights but we are confident the writers of Article 3 of the UDHR did not have abortion rights in mind: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the security of person.” In our current day, we believe contemporary pro-choice advocates have elevated abortion rights far beyond the well known 1948 United Nations declaration of human rights. Nowhere in the United Nations human rights document is “a woman’s right to choose” or “a woman’s right to privacy” advocated as an important human right.


The flawed 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by SCOTUS is used as justification for affirming a “woman’s right to choose” and a “woman’s right to privacy.” It was based on the errant belief that constitutional language “implies” the right to privacy with respect to “a woman’s right to choose,” (referring to the woman’s right to choose abortion). But nowhere is abortion addressed specifically as a constitutional right. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the 1973 decision, stated, “If the suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’s right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the (fourteenth) amendment.”


The more important issue, therefore, is the “personhood” of the embryo and fetus. If participants in the abortion argument would concur with the many life scientists who state that “life begins at conception,” there would be no more discussion. In 2014 we published a series of posts highlighting the divine miracle of God-given personhood—LIFE in the womb from conception until birth. Below we provide the title and one or two statements from each post and a link to the blog site of each full post:


EMERGENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS: The development of a mature human consciousness is only one of the miracles of human development in the first year of life from conception to infancy.  

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/emergence-of-consciousness.html


CONCEPTION TO CONSCIOUSNESS: Denial that the developing entity within the womb is fully human and deserves protection from the moment of conception to the moment of birth and beyond has become a paramount collective sin staining our nation.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/conception-to-consciousness.html


BODY BUILDING BLUEPRINT: Knowledge of the fundamental component of living things—the cell—has exploded. This includes knowledge of genetics and the fundamental secrets of heredity possessed by the incredible DNA molecule.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/body-building-blueprint.html


PRENATAL SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY: The union of a male sperm and female ovum is classic modern knowledge. This union forms the human zygote, a single diploid cell containing two sets of chromosomes—one set from each parent.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/prenatal-science-and-theology.html


LET THE BUILDING BEGIN: The 8-9 day period following conception precedes implantation of the embryo into the mother’s uterine wall. These are important days of preparation for the actual body building project to follow…..The mother is host to the embryo during the 8-9 days prior to implantation.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/let-building-begin.html


EMBRYO TO FETUS: In humans, the child is termed an embryo up until eight weeks. The event sequence of the first few weeks of pregnancy is fascinating almost beyond imagination. The mysteries of embryology still puzzle scientists.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/01/embryo-to-fetus.html

 

PLOTTING PRENATAL PROGRESS: The astonishing beginning and subsequent development of the human embryo and its transition to the category of fetus at roughly eight weeks is known to medical scientists in stunning detail.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/02/plotting-prenatal-progress.html


IMAGERIES OF BUILDING: Quality building materials must be selected. Construction materials must be utilized at the proper time and place and in the appropriate manner…..Applying this imagery to human reproduction, the foundation of an embryo, its transition to a fetus and finally, the arrival of the birth of a child are events which are coordinated precisely by the Creator.

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/02/imageries-of-building.html


MYSTERY OF REPRODUCTION: A Highlight of the Genesis account is the creation of man…..In Chapter One, the initial mention of the vast array of the creation of life forms concludes with, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/02/mystery-of-reproduction.html



Finally, we concluded our January/February series of eleven posts with two essays containing information more typical of a biology textbook:

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/02/mitosis-memories.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2014/02/no-mitosis-without-meiosis.html


Enjoy your study! 

 








   


     



     

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Abortion on a Living Planet---An Oxymoron

 During the last decades of the 20th century, the BBC presented several popular television series. One series was titled The Living Planet. The series, created by biologist David Attenborough, was broad in its historical scope, highlighting many features of life on Planet Earth. Its was heavily ecological in its theme, emphasizing the environment and the protection of nature for which humanity is responsible. We stress its description of Planet Earth as The Living Planet. Attenborough holds current humanity responsible for the proper care of the environment. Emphasis on humanity’s concern for earth’s living creatures is noteworthy and commendable.  

However, while studying the lengthy Wikipedia entry on the biological genius of Attenborough, it is evident that one of the most surpassing issues of our day—the sanctity of human life (homo sapiens)—takes a distant back seat to environmental and ecological issues. Examples: planetary biodiversity, limiting human population growth, switching to renewable energy sources, mitigating climate change, reducing meat consumption, and setting aside more areas for natural preservation. 


Why is the meaning of our current blog title: Abortion on a Living Planet—an oxymoron? The description “Living Planet” may characterize our tiny planet more aptly than any other. LIFE is present on Earth to an incredible extent. Over 8.7 million separate species including homo sapiens have been identified, but many more exist yet unclassified. So far as known, of the billions of exoplanets existing in our home galaxy and the quintillions of exoplanets in the entire universe, only Planet Earth possesses life! The human race has devised many barbaric means of terminating human life during pregnancy. This is a tragedy of our times.


Abortion on a Living Planet—an Oxymoron? In what sense is the term abortion an oxymoron?

This term is defined by most dictionaries as “a figure of speech in which contradictory words or terms appear in conjunction.” A better term may be “paradox:” the opposition of ideas or themes. We list several examples how the term “abortion” is presented in positive terms. Some describe oxymoronic language as a “fluffy euphemism” in which we learn to accept the “unthinkable.” Many pro-life citizens perceive abortion as a pejorative term for murder. It is easy to perceive abortion as murder of an innocent, helpless, immature human being, especially when brutal methods of abortion have been described in the literature. There have been 63 million children in the USA since the Roe v Wade decision of 1973 whose lives were terminated by abortion.


We present several examples of cherry-picking language terms in order to mislead. (1) Abortion is a matter of “a woman’s right to choose.” We might ask what could be negative about “a woman’s right to choose?” If the choice is between choosing death over life, there is much to be perceived as negative. (2) Abortion exemplifies a “woman’s right to privacy.” If the outcome of a private action results in abject harm to another developing human being, the answer is clear. In such cases abortion rights are not tantamount to the right to privacy. (3) Abortion tissues are referenced as “the products of conception.” However, avoiding the use of terms such as zygote, embryo, fetus, or baby and instead using a phrase such as “the products of conception” misrepresents biological truth.  


The Creator has initiated life on Earth, in particular, human life. In the last 70 years the discipline of developmental biology has become well known. Biologists have unlocked many secrets of life processes from conception to the birth of newborn children. We have often cited scripture from Psalm 139:13-16 as a devotional and scientific description of human development before birth. 


God is the Author and Creator of life. It is unthinkable that many humans would seek to destroy a human life created by God. In the past week many pro-choice abortion activists have defiantly rejected the truth that God is the Creator of life itself. They have elevated their “right” to end a human life by abortion over preserving and protecting the miracle of life itself. Human life is a monumental divine gift. The impact of defiantly terminating a developing human life in the womb is grievous to the Creator beyond our ability to understand.      


                

Thursday, April 28, 2022

God Manifest in the Mundane

 Our recent family move to a different state necessitated many deliberate actions and modifications during the moving process. Of course, there was plentiful discard of what may be termed “junk.” The material for which we had no use was shipped to the “junkyard.” It no longer served any useful purpose. Other materials were classified as “clutter.” They needed to be organized more intelligently, perhaps to be used at a future time. In the past we did not see the value of materials we now judge to be clutter as significantly interesting or useful. Some clutter became useful as “giveaways,” including books which may or may not be useful to their new owners. Many items were donated to Goodwill Industries for resale.

Some giveaways had unusual histories. One example is the jade plant (Crassula ovata) which graced our Illinois home for almost twenty years. This jade plant began its sojourn as a very small plant a few inches tall, possibly purchased at very low cost from a supermarket shelf. A few months ago it had achieved a height of one meter and a width of a similar dimension. We found it impossible to transport this large volume jade plant to a new midwestern state. So we clipped all the fleshy leaves of the succulent plant, leaving only a few bare branches. It was a harsh reminder of the beauty we had enjoyed for two decades—now gone!


Happily, in the past few months our jade plant has experienced a renewal. Slowly, the branches have sprung back to life. The bare, woody stems have sprouted many new leaves fashioned in their characteristic ovals—some from the ends of stems where the clippers had lopped off succulent leaves, some from other random locations along the bare stems. The jade plant is slowly returning to its former attractive dense, dark green, fleshy succulence. This method of plant propagation is called root cutting. Some new jade plants also grew from stem cuttings. Several friends and relatives received young jade plants as “going away gifts,” offspring of our twenty year old jade plant.


Our experience with the recent renewal of our jade plant inspired us to research other methods of plant propagation. These fascinating methods are known to plant hobbyists. They have been developed over thousands of years ever since the writer of Genesis 1:29 penned these words: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (ESV). In addition to the method of plant propagation by seed, humanity has discovered other plant propagation methods in addition to the root and stem cutting methods described above. They are suitable for decorative plants such as our jade plant. Decorative plants are also created by God to supply esthetic enjoyment for humanity. Vegetative propagation methods involve splitting of the root system, layering, grafting, budding, and tissue culturing (used by cloning technologists to produce exact replicas). Our jade plant provided us with an imagery of resurrection as well as other spiritual life lessons.


What is our attitude toward the unusual characteristics of plants in our home and neighborhood? Do we perceive their fascinating characteristics as merely ordinary or do we recognize the unique traits as a manifestation of God’s creative genius? We have mused that the jade plant’s color, unique leaf shape, succulence and especially its power of renewal are wondrous outworkings of the genetic code which governs the activity of all life forms. Beyond this, many human gardeners are hobbyists gifted with creative plant propagation talents reflecting the ability of the Divine Creator.


When our grandchildren visited our Northwestern Illinois home and marveled at the multitude of unusual traits of plants and animals in our neighborhood, they were reminded by their grandfather many times that “God had (has) great ideas." We encouraged them to reflect and appreciate the mundane as well as the exceptionally unusual.     












   


 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

God Belief---Proven, Probable, or Doubtful?

 What is more important than belief in God? Many would put this question at the top of their list of important life issues. People who believe in God usually acknowledge that God is the Creator. Many also acknowledge that we should offer God respect and obedience. As Creator, God has established requirements for successful, fulfilled living. In our day of personal self-esteem, there are many ways these requirements are met. The wide spectrum of beliefs and how they manifest themselves in the fabric of our lives is very wide indeed.

Belief in God is fundamental. The Creator does not force his human creations to believe in a particular way. They are free to respond to God with love or reject Him in disbelief. Believers in God experience a wide range of allegiance to the Creator. God knows that in our human frame we are weak and imperfect. Sadly, even In our day up to one third of the populace professes disbelief in God. Their response depends on how the question is phrased. A large fraction of people self identify as a member of the category of “nones”—they do not identify with ANY religion. In the past fifteen years this fraction has virtually doubled. This may indicate these individuals do not believe in the reality of God. Included are atheists and agnostics.


In our personal devotional life there are many opportunities to contemplate the quality of our “God belief.” We acknowledge that our quality of belief may vary moment to moment or day to day. We may speak on the topic of personal “God belief” with family or friends. This results in many interesting discussions. Can we demonstrate that the reality of God has been proven? Is the Creator’s reality axiomatic and self-evident or a proposition taken to be true intrinsically? Some people insist they need proof for the existence of God. Others are satisfied with the probability that God exists. 


Individuals intent on solving such weighty questions must be approached honestly and sincerely. Truth seekers have devoted energy to solving similar questions for thousands of years. Our discussion barely touches the surface of this profound topic. Pastors in our church pulpits most often present their sermons assuming that their members’ “God belief” is axiomatic or self-evident.


What arguments for the reality of God are proposed by theologians or by the writers of science/faith blogs such as ours? There are several arguments. 


(1) The cosmological argument poses the reality of a first cause. William Lane Craig has stated the Kalam argument that everything has a cause. The universe began to exist. The universe, therefore, has a cause. That cause is God.


(2) The teleological argument is the argument citing the apparent design of the universe, sometimes called the intelligent design argument. When we examine the world, we perceive it is complex but coherent, orderly, and inherently purposeful. There are many aspects of the teleological argument including the apparent consistency of fundamental physical constants governing gravity, electromagnetic charges and forces, masses of particles, and velocity of light. If any of these physical constants were even slightly different, matter’s existence and life itself would be impossible. Existence of consistent physical constants is affirmation of the argument from design—intelligent supernatural design.


(3) The moral argument for God’s existence refers to objective truth which must exist driving people to act morally. God must exist to give authority to these moral truths.


These capsule statements are far from convincing. They do not prove God’s existence nor could they persuade anyone that God’s existence is probable. Our goal is to encourage subjective investigation related to this vital question. In a New Testament passage (Mark 9:23-25) the father of a demon-possessed boy confesses his belief in Christ as a divine healer was weak: “I believe; help my unbelief,” he stated. Many people of that day had difficulty believing in Christ and in the reality of the Heavenly Father. The issue of belief in divine reality has always been present in man. Ultimately, belief in God is a divine gift from God himself: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” (John 6:44).  






   


   


         






     

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Carbon Neutrality and Climate Change

 In the last several decades climate change has been the new topic du jour. A famous saying attributed to Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” may more accurately be ascribed to Charles Dudley Warren, author and editor at The Hartford Courant in the late 19th century. He was a good friend of Mark Twain.

Many modern journalists and politicians, however, are trying to “do something about it.” Political prophets of doom pronounce the termination of our society within a decade if we do not act immediately to remedy the situation. In their view, it is not the weather but rather, long term climate which must be changed. Humanity must become the agent of change, according to the doomsayers. Seldom is an unusual weather phenomenon reported without climate change being identified as responsible. Often linked to their warnings is a political agenda. Climate change remediation will not be cheap, of course. Our society may be bankrupted even if we do not face extinction, we are warned. Other quotes from famous men include, it’s “now or never” and “ we are at the limits of suicide” (Pope Francis). Politician Bark Obama warns of “submerged countries, abandoned cities, and fields that no longer grow,”


“Climate change” now stands in for the former “global warming.” The first term refers to long term measures of precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns. The latter term refers primarily to global temperatures. A favorite topic of conversation has transitioned from friendly banter to alarm. We must keep in mind that weather and climate support human flourishing. It is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity.


We do not minimize the threat of dangerous weather. Our climate system has been gifted to humanity by the Creator of All Things. God has put man in charge of managing the vagaries of weather perceived as both good and bad. I recall an uncle who preferred to remain on an open screened in porch during thunderstorms so he could enjoy the grandeur of the event. I also recall crawling under an overturned wooden rowboat on a riverbank to shield my father, my brother and me from a severe storm during a fishing excursion. “God will take care of us,” my father assured us. It was one of my life’s poignant moments. Unusual, hazardous weather is a feature of a climate system generally favorable to plant growth and living creatures. Plants and animals on our planet are able to adjust to inconvenient or even violent weather and still enjoy the ultimate benefit inherent in our majestic climate system.


Modern scientists have discovered many technological solutions to the challenges posed by our climate system. Many of these challenges relate to conditions generated by Earth’s burgeoning population. For example, Earth’s population has doubled since 1973, tripled since 1952. World population is now 7.9 billion. The burning of fossil fuels  to support our enormous human population still generates a significant quantity of CO2, a greenhouse gas which has slowly increased from 0.03% to 0.04% of the atmospheric composition. This small increase amplifies the greenhouse effect, a measure of heat retained by the Earth’s atmosphere. Amplification of the greenhouse effect is responsible for climate change currently highlighted by our media.


Many factors produce the greenhouse effect. The aviation industry contributes 6% of anthropogenic warming. Eliminating CO2 emissions resulting from aviation would be a significant help in our battle against CO2 and harmful climate change. Swiss and German engineers led by Remo Schappi have proposed and demonstrated a new technology to replace most of the CO2 producing fossil fuels used by the aviation industry, according to a recent blog posted by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. Ross states, “…their solar production system uses concentrated solar energy to convert CO2 and water vapor from the atmosphere into a mixture of molecular hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO), otherwise known as syngas. It then uses a solar-powered gas-to-liquid unit that converts the syngas into…methanol, which can be substituted for CO2-producing kerosene that presently fuels all the commercial and military aircraft in the world.”


The above description exemplifies one “carbon neutral” process developed by brilliant technologists. We propose that Our Creator has gifted scientists with knowledge to “manage the vagaries of weather and climate.” This phenomenon is similar to the exhortations of scripture authors who state that humans are strengthened by adversity. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3 ESV). A scientific problem, therefore, could be similar to a spiritual problem. We must work to remedy both types of problems. Ultimately we are strengthened as we work to solve challenges.  


 







     

Friday, March 11, 2022

Meteorological Seasons

 Most calendars proclaim March 20 as the first day of spring. This date marks the beginning of astronomical spring. Even though the March 20 calendar date generates excitement, most residents cannot explain the significance of that date from an astronomical perspective. Even fewer residents could explain why on rare occasions the first day of spring might fall on either March 19 or March 21. The last March 21 “first day of spring” occurred in 2007 and will not occur again on that day until 2101. The 2020 first day of spring was the first March 19 occurrence since 1896 across the entire spectrum of US time zones. Varying time zones and calendar modifications affect precise dates when the first day of spring arrives. Trivia enthusiasts thrive on such esoteric information. People uninterested in trivia may exult in the emotional significance of the “first day of spring.”

Easier to understand than astronomical spring is meteorological spring. This season is always considered to be March, April, and May. It never varies.  (September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.) In short, this term relates to weather, specifically, familiar springtime weather. As this post is written, the local population is reveling in somewhat warmer weather conditions. Neighbors may greet us with “It’s warmer today,” or “It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow.” Of course, there could be a hard cold snap or an incident of frozen precipitation. If the latter occurs it will probably not remain frozen very long, but there were a few notable exceptions to this rule. The Storm of the Century of March 1993 in the eastern half of the US was a profound exception. Other storms more typical of winter your blogger personally experienced in March while living in New Jersey were March 18-19 1956, March 2-5 1960, and even a rare April 6-7 1982 mid-winter-type blizzard.


Meteorological summer, autumn, and winter follow meteorological spring. In divine wisdom, our Creator has established seasons to benefit humanity in diverse ways. A world population approaching 8 billion would not produce enough food without the existence of seasons. Readers may wish to study this topic more completely. For those challenged by more detailed research, we suggest:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2017/10/earth-without-seasons.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2017/11/what-sort-of-miracle.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/03/meteorolgical-or-astronomical-spring.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2017/10/sustained-by-seasons.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2015/08/adapting-to-seasons.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/03/seasonal-trivia.html


When God ordained seasons, He performed transformative miracles for the benefit of humanity. Transformative miracles are defined as ancient environmental modifications superintended by the Creator which shaped and prepared our home planet to benefit Earth’s future teeming billions of residents. Among such miracles is the appropriate tilt of the Earth’s axis as it revolves around the Sun. Without this 23 degree tilt Earth’s life-sustaining seasons would not be possible. Knowledgable Earth residents are able to study the parameters of Earth’s seasons and give glory to the God of Creation. The author of Genesis 8:22 refers to conditions in all four seasons with devotional exuberance: “For as long as  Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” (The Message translation)


When meteorological spring approaches, our wild creatures and plants adjust to the changing conditions in interesting ways. Flocking behavior, particularly in birds, is no longer necessary to insure effective group food gathering or group safety. As spring advances they become more intent on finding mates and scouting sites for nest building. The sounds of late winter bird songs during brightening late winter days suggest future reproductive activity. Late in winter, we have heard calls of owls who hatch their babies in February. Squirrels provide entertainment by chasing each other through tree branches on mating forays as winter recedes. Green plants also share in the joys of renewal:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2008/05/spring-renewal.html


Significant human joy is produced by observing God’s provision of work/rest cycles. These cycles are illustrated by the divine gift of planetary seasons which benefit humanity created In His Image. The natural world praises the genius of the Creator: “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them, let all the trees of the forest sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12).


   


   


        


   

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Of Making Many Books

Human writing skills have proliferated in the past several thousand years. The Book of Ecclesiastes, attributed to The Preacher, probably Solomon, makes a notable comment about book writing even in his day. The Preacher said, “And further, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Eccl. 12:12 KJV)


Recently our family has been focused on a move from one house to another. When it becomes necessary for a family to change their home location, they acquire multidimensional responsibilities, including how to deal with the accumulation of objects from the past. Disposal of books and other printed matter ranks high on the list of activities associated with relocating. We must put away sentiment and become focused on reorganizing and renewal, especially when we consider the fate of aging books. Most friends agree this activity generates some trauma, especially when a surprising number of acquaintances confess they have even retained their college textbooks! We may be shocked to find out how our human knowledge base has changed since we were college students. As we decide to cull and discard or give away personal books, we might also consider motivations and goals of the writers.  


Writing is a special human skill, invented surprisingly late in human history. One wonders why writing skills were not manifest much earlier on the human timeline. Historians have recognized the presence of “full humanity” for tens of thousands of years prior to the invention of writing. Our Science/Faith blog has used the term “full humanity” many times in past years. You may access many blog posts using the term “full humanity” by entering the term in the SEARCH THIS BLOG window.  


Sources credit the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia with developing early writing skills about 3500 BC, followed by Egypt in 3200 BC, then China about 1300 BC. Mesoamerican residents developed writing skills in the millennium before the advent of Jesus Christ. The term pre-history refers to the time in human history before writing skills appeared. Even after humans possessed writing skills, autographs (original copies) of the author’s written production are virtually never preserved. They exist as copies. Old Testament writings originated not long after human writing skills were invented. Original manuscripts do not exist even for New Testament authors.


Tools for writing developed in concert with writing skills. For example, early writing was produced with primitive writing tools. Early humans did not have access to plentiful paper, printing methods, and duplicating skills, but in our modern day numerous technological innovations have made the production of books and the distribution of information easy compared with the early days of antiquity. It is not difficult for modern authors to record and publish personal opinions and ideologies utilizing diverse writing styles. Our culture has been blessed with millions of books by tens of thousands of authors. We live in the age of information. The writing of many books is one of the most important means of spreading information. The type and quality of information is exceedingly diverse. We thank our Creator for enabling his children to develop and refine this gift of communication.


Why was writing invented so late in time? We could also ask why knowledge of the wheel, agricultural innovation, genetics, germ theory, animal and plant domestication, human nutrition, aviation, space travel, and electric powered automobiles were not prevalent earlier in human experience? We have listed only a few of blessings divinely bestowed on contemporary humanity.


Writing, specifically the writing of “many books,” is looked upon with various degrees of favor, indifference, or disfavor. Book writing is an effective way to convey truth. It is also a means of spreading misinformation and disinformation—popular terms in our day. We must filter out the useful from the non-useful as we decide which books to purchase, retain, or discard.           


Several scripture verses come to mind in relation to our query: why was writing not invented earlier in the timeline of history? Phrases such as those in 2 Cor. 6:2  and Gal. 4:4 speak of “the fullness of time” or “when the time had fully come." These verses primarily refer to the advent of Christ. Modern commentators advance beyond our knowledge of Christ and refer to medical breakthroughs, technological marvels, and increasing human achievement, including the relatively recent advancement in writing. In human history, God works according to HIS calendar.


The fulness of time expression may relate to the human population explosion since the invention of writing and other startling human advancement. Our God oversees the achievements of his created beings, especially those created In His Image. He has endowed humanity with diverse abilities which came to fruition in our day. Metrics for the population explosion since the invention of writing surprise us: In 3000 BC world population was about 14 million. In 2022 world population is 7.9 billion—more than 500 times the human population when writing was invented. Technological advancement now proceeds at a breakneck pace. This human advancement is enabled by Our Heavenly Father—The Creator of All Things. 


    



   


       

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Universal Purpose

 A query to all residents of Planet Earth: Why are we here? Did God have a purpose for creating humanity? If we ask residents about the purpose for their existence, would most people link God’s purpose with human purpose?          

Many young people are exposed to catechisms as a vital segment of their early education in the Christian faith. These are manuals of religious instruction designed for young people and new converts. They are organized statements of Christian principles stated in the form of questions and answers. We remind readers of the first question from the famous Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We may substitute the term “purpose” for “end.”  


What is the purpose of humanity as residents of Planet Earth? The question has many dimensions. When we speak of purpose are we talking about pure enjoyment of life? participation in exciting experiences? knowledge gain? satisfaction with one’s choice of profession? altruism? productivity? power exercised over others? The subjective list expressing life’s purpose could expand almost endlessly. It is a formidable challenge to express our values and personal philosophy in defining humanity’s purpose.


The known universe consists of two entities—non-living and living. Non-living matter in our universe comprises almost 100% of the matter in our cosmos. From our early knowledge of chemistry, protons, neutrons and electrons comprise visible matter, but dark energy and dark matter are also part of the cosmic mix. Baryonic (visible) matter comprises only 5% of the “normal matter” in our universe. In contrast, 27% of the matter in our universe is categorized dark matter, while 68% of the matter in our universe is considered dark energy. Dark matter and dark energy are mysterious components of the universe. Therefore, “‘normal matter’ (visible matter) shouldn’t be considered normal matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the universe.” (quote from NASA Share the Science article.)


Behavior of matter is incredibly fine tuned. There are 26 “fundamental constants” which govern the behavior of all particles in the universe and all forces and interactions occurring between them. 


“Fine tuning refers to the surprising precision of nature’s fundamental physical constants and the beginning state  of the universe. Both of these features converge as potential pointers to a Creator. To explain the present state of the universe, scientific theories require that the physical constants of nature—like the strength of gravity—and the beginning state of the universe—like its density—have extremely precise values. The slightest variation from their actual values results in an early universe that never becomes capable of hosting life. For this reason, the universe seems finely tuned for life. This observation is referred to as the anthropic principle…..


“The fine tuning of the universe is seen most clearly in the values of the constants of nature. There are many such constants, the best known of which specify the strength of the four forces of nature: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity. If these forces took on even slightly different strengths, the consequences for life would be devastating. Two of these  in particular, the strong and electromagnetic forces, are responsible for the unusually efficient production of carbon, the element upon which all known life is based…..The slightest change to either the strong or electromagnetic forces would alter the energy levels, resulting in greatly reduced production of carbon and an ultimately uninhabitable universe.” (Quotes from The BioLogos Forum article: “What is the ‘fine tuning’ of the universe, and how does it serve as a ‘pointer to God?’”)  


We speak of a carbon-less universe uninhabitable by humanity. A non-living universe would be fascinating even if it produced only beautiful stars, galaxies or complex weather and climate systems. Such systems would be remarkable in themselves, but far less remarkable if they lacked life. Our enormous universe has been prepared and fine-tuned by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, loving Creator of All Things. He produced this vast universe with divine care for the welfare of its living things, especially humanity.


Many scientists who do not embrace Christianity acknowledge, at some level, a universe having supernatural characteristics. For example, English astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) uttered this statement: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggest that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”


Scientific knowledge concerning the overwhelming evidence of fine tuning in the universe fortifies our belief in the existence of God. He is the Creator of the Universe with all its beauty, coherence, and functionality. Observations of the universe itself clearly indicate that its fine tuning serves as a “pointer to God” whose deep, purposeful love for man is evident. Our loving Creator is worthy of all the glory we could offer Him.

       




   


Friday, January 21, 2022

Cause and Effect Research

A treasured area of my personal bookcase contains over two dozen special science volumes. The authors are a group of scientists from the Christian organization Reasons to Believe. Each RTB scientist voices strong support for the conflation of science and Christian faith. The promotion of this linkage is unusual in our world where science is promoted as a secular activity: According to the tradition of our day, science should not have any connection with religion or Christian theology. The secularization of science was a landmark trend beginning in the 19th century. In one of our past posts from 2011 we discussed the issue in some detail:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2011/08/secularization-of-science.html


In spite of the movement toward secularization, a significant number of scientists still endorse the strong linkage between the Creator and scientific knowledge. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross has become well known for articulating this connection. Dr. Ross tells the fascinating story of how the latest research into origins not only has sealed the case for divine creation, but has revealed the identity of the Creator Himself. The RTB organization was founded in 1986. 


In 1993 our family visited the Wheaton College bookstore—our daughter had just been enrolled at Wheaton. One of the early publications of the newly founded Reasons to Believe ministry was the well known book The Fingerprint of God. The book was published in 1991. I purchased a copy and presented it to my father. The memory of our bookstore visit rekindled recollections of my then octogenarian father who was uniquely blessed by the ministry of RTB and their early efforts to connect science and faith. In succeeding years Dr. Ross has enlisted many fine scholars to highlight and strengthen the science/faith connection. Ross has been a guest on the John Ankerberg Show several times. 


On a personal level we must state that both my father and I were affirmed in our faith by the RTB ministry. Weeks after our visit to the Wheaton bookstore, I was pleased to discover he was devouring The Fingerprint of God and other RTB publications such as The Creator and the Cosmos and Beyond the Cosmos. He ordered these by mail on his own. In my possession is a book, The Genesis Question, (1998), personally autographed “To Paul, Praise for His glory revealed to us all! Hugh Ross Ps. 50:6.” My father’s eyes were failing from macular degeneration, but he retained enough vision to read difficult books! He was even able to view Comet Hale-Bopp through an Astroscan telescope. (Check our post from 12/25/21.) 


We wrote the following tribute to “Dad” a few days after he departed this life in August 1999: “This life chronicle would not be complete without a description of one of Dad’s greatest joys in his last five years. He became interested in the writings of several committed Christian scientists who promoted the idea that modern scientific discoveries, particularly in the last 20 years, instead of threatening the foundation of our faith, actually bolster the witness of scripture concerning the evidence for God’s existence and His characteristics. Dad devoured these writings word for word, concept for concept. He would gaze at the sky and the forest with more appreciation and knowledge than ever before. How he was able to read so extensively with such impaired vision we hardly understand. The increase in Dad’s grasp of the greatness and majesty of God was inspiring. I hasten to add that the grasp was exceedingly strong already! He came to understand that in the realm of science and theology, from the macrocosm to the microcosm ‘facts are the crucial foundation for meaningful faith.’ There were numerous times over the years that our questions or comments about scriptural matters would evoke wonderfully enriching and informative discussions, nourished by Dad’s enormous  knowledge of the scriptures (he studied scripture and scripture commentaries all his life). The scientific books expanded our theological discussions to a new dimension.”


Our ability to seek knowledge of God is a bountiful gift. Through science we are able to observe the reality of our existence and establish that God is the omnipotent, ultimate Cause of all things. Through science we are able to accurately observe effects. Through science we are able to establish truth and separate truth from ideology. 


   



    

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Causes and Effects

 Science is basically a study of causes and their effects: In simplest terms one event or action is the direct result of a previous event or action. Scientists must insure that their judgements are not compromised by errant thinking, particularly with respect to ultimate causes. For example, does God exist and did He create and design the characteristics present in our universe? 

Scientific literature offers evidence that effects in the world of our everyday experience are produced by definite causes. Scientists have developed formal methods for accurately determining the chain of events sequence. When we determine the sequence we discover truths about the world of reality permeating our universe.  Understanding causality demands a heavy dose of scientific knowledge gained from systematic study. The Creator of All Things has implanted in humans the ability to investigate cause and effect without error.


We speak of a fundamental pairing of phenomena we observe daily. Our ability to study causal relationships is a gift of the Creator. Consider the term for God we have used many times: the Creator of All Things. This includes our ability to detect ever-present relationships in which we are immersed every moment of our lives. These relationships include (1) characteristics and behavior of the physical, material universe, (2) the characteristics and behavior of living things, and even (3) the phenomenon of human consciousness. Humans are unique in their consciousness of God—the ultimate “Cause.”


Very young children observe cause/effect phenomena when parents place action toys in their play pen. Older children identify these phenomena during their playground games. The same children become aware of human relationships when they are trained to obey and be respectful of others. They quickly learned causes and effects of their behavior—sometimes appropriate, sometimes inappropriate. As teenagers and young adults, they may have deep questions about how the universe began. Did the universe always exist, or did the universe have a beginning? Was there an omnipotent Beginner, an ultimate Cause to whom humans owe allegiance? Wise parents and church leaders are pleased to address young people’s deep, thoughtful questions about the existence of God as the ultimate Cause. This is an awesome responsibility for parents and youth leaders.


The cause/effect relationship is germane to the discussion about the existence and traits of God, the Creator. Is God the divine Cause of All Things? The famous Cosmological Argument  proposes that God’s existence is proven by the fact that “things exist.” This is a heavy exercise in logic, perhaps too deep for most young people. In the absence of concrete proof for God’s divine existence, we must offer relevant evidence short of absolute proof.

 

We reference material from a blog we posted on June 1, 2010. The post refers to God as the Intelligent Designer, another way to describe God as the “Ultimate Cause.” The following excerpts are quotations concerning intuition, sometimes cited in the absence of concrete proof: Intuition is defined as “an immediate apprehension of truth…in the absence of conscious, rational processes.” Intuition is an excellent starting point for discussions of the real world, such as the topic of origins…As an evidentialist, I have confidence in the function of intuition, but only as a prelude to more formal investigative processes of science.


Fundamental questions about the existence of God and His workings in our world and in our lives are some of the most important questions we could ask. What provisions did the Creator make for our redemption? The issues of cause and effect are integrally related to these questions. They help us understand the broad dimensions of God’s loving character and His love for humanity.